The Pentagon War game

by Roger M. Wilcox
Originally begun on 27-December-1983

This webpage was last modified on 9-April-2002


The first thing that may be brought to bear is the economic system.  Since all spacecraft are built with points, the "point" is the standard unit of currency/economic energy in all five systems.  It's not just spacecraft that are built with points to balance out scenarios any more; it's the entire fleet of a star system, and many scenarios will end up quite unbalanced.

The victory conditions for a campaign are not the same as for a scenario.  If an 800-point spacecraft was destroyed by a 1600-point spacecraft, but in the process the 1600-point spacecraft lost 900 points worth of systems, then the 800-point spacecraft player would win the scenario.  In the large scale of the campaign, however, this means that one system has lost an 800-point spacecraft while the other has a damaged 1600-point spacecraft that can be repaired.  It's the overall performance of all spacecraft that effects the outcome of a campaign, not victory points within a scenario.

Any drones that are lost in a scenario may be replaced from cargo storage or a reload-point (such as Station Jove).  However, replacement drones cost points — they cost as much as their weapon.  It is not necessary to pay the cost of the hangar bay again.

It should be noted that no more than six spacecraft may be on either side in a particular scenario.  While it would seem more effective to concentrate your entire fleet into a lump, and use this as an inexorable juggernaught to steamroller the enemy fleets flat, this does not work in real life.  Any more than six spacecraft in one area of space will simply get in each others' way, interfering with their own radar and ECM, et cetera.  Furthermore, if all of a given system's spacecraft are engaged in one area of space, a few maverick enemy vessels may be able to sneak around them and attack major outposts with little resistance.


This campaign details a major attempt to wipe out the enemy system's home planet and "win the war."  Several of these occurred during the Pentagon War; none of them were successful.  However, it was supposed (and feared) that a campaign of this type might succeed.

Each side has a good-sized fleet of starspacecraft, all of which will be used throughout the campaign.  The entire fleet of a star system has a maximum cost of 15000 points, not counting gate guards.  Players may use spacecraft included in this game (noting that Zelta-Dee was unique) or build their own spacecraft, holding as many points in reserve for replacement drones as they deem necessary.  Note that each player is playing commander-in-chief of a particular star system, and only spacecraft designs from that system can be used.  Human-Centauri may not be the attacking fleet, as their spacecraft never penetrated enemy systems once during the Pentagon War.

The game is played in a series of "waves."  The first wave is the assault on the gate guard.  Since as many as six spacecraft of the entire attacking fleet may pour through the hyper hole and the gate guard may be accompanied by a less-than-1000-point spacecraft of the defending fleet on a roll of 1, 2, or 3 on a six-sided die only, this scenario will probably be won by the attackers.  This scenario is used more to scar the enemy than to stop it.  (A good strategy is for the gate guard to concentrate on destroying the small spacecraft rather than just damaging the big ones.  Damaged spacecraft may repair themselves, but destroyed spacecraft are lost.)  If by some miracle the gate guard is not destroyed, the next set of up to six enemy spacecraft must also tackle it, after it gets its between-scenario repairs done.

From the second wave on, it gets more difficult for the enemy.  To avoid having their exact location concentrated upon, the remaining enemy fleet must break up into four separate sectors, none of which can contain more than six spacecraft.  The defending player must also divide up his entire (remaining) fleet among those four sectors and fight with whichever spacecraft he or she encounters.

The third wave is played like the second wave, except the attackers now narrow their channels to three sectors.  As the enemy further closes in, the fourth wave contains only two sectors.  The fifth and final wave is played with all remaining atttacking and defending spacecraft.  A planet (or planetary plate) is placed just as in "Attack on the Homeworld."  If this planet sustains 200 or more damage points, or if each section of the plate sustains 100 or more damage points, the attackers have won a total victory.  If the planet survives, count the remaining points of spacecraf on either side to determine the winner.

NOTE: Human-Centauri never fought outside its own home front for the entire Pentagon War.  Human-Centaurian forces may not be the aggressors in this campaign.

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